Take a break from Fashion Week, head to Brooklyn (if you can bear it after Alexander Wang), and get a lesson in wreaking havoc from cinema’s finest antiheroines. BAM’s current film series, "Vengeance Is Hers," showcases 20 films across eras and genres. Their protagonists range from jilted undead lovers to Henry James heroines to Afro-having social justice vigilantes, all with one thing in common: They’re pissed-off and hell-bent on revenge.
Not Brooklyn-centric? Might we recommend you take a break and comb Netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube to watch these awesome movies. Here’s a handy guide to the remaining films on view at BAM.
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Kuroneko (Black Cat in a Bamboo Grove, 1968)
Synopsis: After gruesome assault at the hands of samurai warriors, Yone and her daughter-in-law Shige are left for dead as their home burns. Bummer. Luckily a magical black cat licks the two ladies back to kind-of-life. They are reincarnated as sexy, elegant spirit women hellbent on avenging their horrible death by seducing every samurai with sake and bare shoulders, and then viciously killing them. We won’t give away the twist of this classic Japanese horror film, but let’s just say vengeance becomes complicated and involves an underworld pact. Revenge Genre: Seduce and Kill, Back from the Dead, Supernatural, Family Affair, Damn the Man. Perfect for: Those times when you just want to take down an entire institution and everyone associated with it, like Soulcycle. Showtimes: Tuesday, February 11: 4:15pm, 7pm, 9:30pm
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Synopsis: An elderly female millionaire with a prosthetic leg made of gold returns to the tiny, poverty-stricken Senegal village she fled as a teen. It’s an age-old tale of “small town girl makes big money and returns to her native land to save them from abject poverty but only if the villagers agree to execute the man who impregnated and abandoned Old Goldie Leg when she was 17.” Spoiler alert: cash > morals. Revenge Genre: Teenage Heartbreak, Community Kill. Perfect for: Rationalizing keeping all of the friends and alienating your ex after a breakup.
Showtimes: Wednesday, February 12: 4:30pm, 7pm, 9:30pm
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The Match Factory Girl (1990)
Synopsis: It’s just one bleak life lesson after another for protagonist Liris. First she tries to escape the monotony of her factory job with a trip to a nightclub—nobody talks to her. Then she uses her hard earned money to buy a her version of a freakum dress, goes back to the club, meets a man, sleeps with the man. Man doesn’t call. But wait! Man calls! It’s looking up. Or is it? Nope, not looking up.
Revenge Genre: Jilted Lover, Self-sacrificing. Perfect for: When the only way out is to take everyone down with you.
Showtimes: Thursday, February 13 5pm, 9:30pm
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The Heiress (1949)
Synopsis: Shy and wealthy Catherine is unloved by her father, leaving her an emotionally vulnerable target for the dashing Morris (Montgomery Clift). Her father doesn’t trust or approve of this Morris character, so Catherine makes plans to elope. Surprise: Morris just wanted the money, and never shows up. Years later, Catherine’s father is dead, and the bear (Morris) comes back for that honey pot (Catherine’s inheritance). But the years have hardened her heart. Revenge Genre: Seduce and Kill, Jilted Lover, Perfect for: Mustering the willpower to ignore texts. No matter how desperate the pleas.
Showtimes: Thursday, February 13, 7pm
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The Lady Eve (1941)
Synopsis: This classic screwball comedy stars Barbara Stanwyck as a beautiful con artist who is out to get a dashing Henry Fonda’s money. She gets him, loses him, and gets him back with many funny moments along the way. (Did you see Heartbreakers? Kinda like that) Revenge Genre: Gender Bender, Not really Out for Revenge. Perfect for: Wondering if your finances mean it’s time to enroll on sugardaddyforme.com.
Showtimes: Friday, February 14, 6:45pm, 8:30pm
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Synopsis: We all know this one. Brian De Palma’s famous adaptation of a Stephen King novel, wherein oddball religious girl gets humiliated at school thereby activating her telekinesis. She pisses off the popular crowd, but attracts the kindness of one popular boy. Wins prom queen, is doused in pigs blood and loses her mind, then uses telekinesis to burn everyone who has ever wronged her. You know, high school. Revenge Genre: Self-sacrificing, Teenage Heartbreak, Supernatural Perfect for: The night before your 10 year High School reunion, the night after your 10 year high school reunion. Recommended companion viewing: High School Reunion (2003).
Showtimes: Saturday, February 15, 2pm, 7pm
7 of 13
Black Sunday (1960)
Synopsis: It’s sexy 1630 Italy and a beautiful witch named Asa is put to death by her own brother for the crime of sorcery. Her lover is also condemned, so she’s really pissed. As she goes up in flames (while wearing a spiked face-mask) she curses her brother and all of his descendants Two centuries later Asa is accidentally brought back to life as a vampire and starts stalking her brother’s distantly related progeny. Revenge Genre: Supernatural, Back from the Dead, Family Affair, Long Game. Perfect for: When you realize you will never get back the 609 minutes you spent watching all four movies in the Twilight franchise. Or when your brother’s a real dick at Thanksgiving and doesn’t like your new boyfriend. Showtimes: Saturday, February 15th, 4:30pm, 9:30pm
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Possibly in Michigan (1983)
Synopsis: A trip to the mall gets bizarre in this opera, which has discordant Casio score. Two women are shopping and then all of the sudden a cannibal beast starts stalking them through their suburban town. Someone eats a poodle at one point, I think. Revenge Genre: Suburban Mall Redemption, Notable Soundtrack, Community Kill Perfect for: Black Friday shopping hype-up.
Showtimes: Saturday, February 15th, 4:30pm, 9:30pm
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Nine to Five (1980)
Synopsis: Judy, Violet and Doralee are passed over, groped, and all around degraded by the same man: their sleazy boss Franklin Hart Jr. One night, they drunkenly conspire to kill him--and, in a comedy of errors, incorrectly believe that they have! Just kidding, they’ve actually kidnapped him, and while he’s captive, they enact some important changes at their corporation. Revenge Genre: Community Kill, Social Justice, Notable Soundtrack, Sisterhood, Damn the Man Real Life Application: You work at Goldman Sachs.
Showtimes: Sunday, February 16th, 7pm
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She Devil (1989)
Synopsis: Roseanne Barr is Ruth Patchett, frumpy housewife, whose husband leaves her for a beautiful blonde romance novelist played by Meryl Streep (delightful adversaries). Instead of eating frosting out of a can and crying, as one does, Ruth systematically strips away everything good about Mary’s life, by sticking her with her unruly children, getting her mother kicked out of her nursing home, ruining her party etc. Bob gets what’s coming to him in the form of an 18-month jail sentence for embezzlement. In the end, somehow, everything goes back to normal. Revenge Genre: Jilted lover, Middle-age Heartbreak, Suburban Redemption, Long Game, Damn the Woman Real Life Application: Movie night with mom. Showtimes: Sunday, February 16th, 9:30pm
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Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan (1972)
Synopsis: A beautiful young woman named Aniu is sold into sexual slavery at a brothel called “the Four Seasons.” Classy. In a sapphic twist, the madam falls in love with her young charge, and teaches her the ways of the world, including all these handy, deadly martial arts moves that she uses to kill the men who dare approach her carnal flower. Revenge Genre: Seduce and Kill, Damn the Man, Unconventional Women, Sisterhood Real Life Application: You really hate your job, but can’t leave because of the benefits, free snacks, and mentorship. Showtimes: Monday, February 17th, 6:30pm
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Synopsis: In this classic Blaxplotation film, Pam Grier (the best ever) is Coffy, a respectable ER nurse by day who gets nasty on the streets by night. But not like that. After her younger sister gets hooked on drugs and goes to rehab, and her lover turns out to be corrupt, Coffy turns into a “one woman hit squad” taking out all members of the drug underworld. She poses as a lady of the night to lure and then kill in the name of vengeance and social justice and fantastic afros. Revenge Genre: Social Justice, Unconventional Women, Seduce and Kill, Family Affair, Damn the Man. Perfect for: Any situation that demands kicking ass, taking names, and looking fly. So this one is fine for Fashion Week, actually.
Showtimes: Monday, February 17th, 4:30pm, 8:45pm
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Terminal Island (1973)
Synopsis: In a feminist Grindhouse action flick, a group of convicted death row inmates are scooped up, dropped on an island, and instructed to fight each other to the death. In a “chick before dick” battle cry, the women band together to fight the patriarchy, kill their male oppressors and blow up more stuff than Sylvester Stallone. Revenge Genre: Unconventional Women, Damn the Man, Grindhouse Perfect for: When you want to kill your girlfriends, but then you remember the alternative is hanging out with dudes. Showtimes: Tuesday, February 18th, 7pm, 9:30pm